Lithuania is a popular destination for immigrants looking for job opportunities in Europe. As an EU member state, Lithuania offers a relatively straightforward path to obtaining a work permit and residency for qualified professionals in certain fields. In 2024, Lithuania continues to have labor shortages in areas like IT, engineering, healthcare, and skilled trades. The Lithuanian government offers attractive relocation and visa packages to recruit foreign talent to fill these gaps.
This guide explains the step-by-step process for non-EU nationals to obtain work authorization and temporary residency status in Lithuania in 2024.
Lithuania Work Visa Overview
Citizens of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland can work in Lithuania without restrictions. However, most other foreign nationals require a work permit and temporary residence permit to take up employment legally.The main types of work authorizations for non-EU citizens are:
- EU Blue Card – For highly skilled workers and managers earning a high salary
- Ordinary work permit – For most other qualified professionals and skilled workers
- Seasonal work permit – For short-term seasonal jobs up to 6 months
- Intra-company transfer – For multinational employees temporarily assigned to a Lithuanian office
With an approved work permit, you can then apply for a National Visa D from your home country, which allows you to legally reside in Lithuania for up to one year.After entering with a National Visa D, you must typically apply to convert it into a temporary residence permit (TRP) within 90 days. The TRP is then renewable every 1-2 years.
Step 1: Receive a Job Offer
The first step is securing a concrete job offer from a Lithuanian company. Your employer will sponsor your work permit and visa application.Highly skilled professionals can search for openings in fields like tech, engineering, business, and science on sites like WorkInLithuania.
For other jobs, you’ll need to find employers actively recruiting foreign workers, such as in hospitality, construction, manufacturing, etc. Some recruitment agencies specialize in placing foreign workers.When evaluating job offers, check that the salary meets the minimum amounts specified by immigration authorities (around 1.5 times the average wage). Make sure your employer is legitimate and able to fulfill all sponsorship duties.
Step 2: Employer Applies for Work Permit
Once you accept a job offer, your Lithuanian employer must apply to the Lithuanian Labour Exchange for your work permit.The required documents include:
- Your passport information
- Signed job offer/contract
- Proof of professional qualifications
- Police clearance certificate
- Health insurance
Work permits are usually issued within 7 business days of a complete application. The fee is around 120 EUR.Some categories of workers are exempt from permits, such as certain IT professionals, start-up employees, corporate transferees, etc. But most still need temporary residence permits.
Step 3: Receive Your Work Permit
After obtaining the work permit decision from migration authorities, your employer will send you a copy and sign a formal employment contract.You should review the permit carefully to make sure all personal details are correct. This document will allow you to apply for a National Visa D at the Lithuanian embassy in your home country.
Step 4: Apply for a National Visa D
The National Visa D application is submitted at your closest Lithuanian embassy or consulate.After signing the job contract and receiving the work permit, gather all required documents:
- Completed visa application form
- Valid passport
- Color passport photos
- Work permit decision
- Signed employment agreement
- Proof of travel medical insurance
- Evidence of financial means
Submit the National Visa application in-person at your appointment. Processing times range from 15-30 days once the embassy has received everything. If approved, the embassy will place a visa sticker inside your passport allowing you to legally live and work in Lithuania for up to one year.
Step 5: Enter Lithuania and Convert Visa
You can enter Lithuania anytime within the validity window of your National Visa D. At the border, present your passport with visa along with supporting documents.Within 90 days of first arrival, you must lodge an application to convert your D visa into a temporary residence permit (TRP). Book an appointment at a Migration Office.The TRP application has similar requirements to the work permit but also includes:
- Proof of health insurance coverage in Lithuania
- Documentation of residence in Lithuania
- Biometric data collection
EU Blue Card for Highly Skilled Workers
One advantage of the EU Blue Card program is that it provides a faster track to permanent residence and citizenship.To qualify for the Blue Card in Lithuania, you must have:
- A university degree
- Gross annual salary of at least 1.5 times the average
- Signed employment contract for highly skilled occupation
Blue Card holders can apply for permanent residency after 33 months in Lithuania (or shorter if you take Lithuanian language classes).Citizenship is possible after 5 years of continuous residency with a Blue Card. This is 2 years faster than other temporary residents.
Bringing Family Members
Once you obtain a temporary residence permit for employment, you can sponsor immediate family members to join you in Lithuania.To bring your spouse and minor children, they will need to apply for National Visa Ds as your dependents. Adult children can also come as dependents if they are full-time students.
Family members may need to provide additional documents like marriage/birth certificates, proof of health insurance, bank statements, and return flight bookings.
Duration of Stay
National Visa Ds are typically issued for up to one year, while temporary residence permits can be valid for up to two years.Work permits may be issued for shorter periods depending on the job type – for example, seasonal work permits are limited to 6 months. In most renewal applications, you will need to provide updated work contracts, pay statements, health insurance, and other documentation.
Options for Permanent Residence
While temporary visas allow non-EU citizens to work in Lithuania, you may eventually seek permanent residence and settlement in the country.Some paths to permanent status include:
EU Blue Card – Highly skilled workers can obtain permanent residence after 33 months of employment with a Blue Card.
5 Years of Temporary Residence – Ordinary work visa holders can apply for permanent residence after 5 years.
Investment Activity – Investing 280,000 EUR into Lithuanian business ventures or real estate can make you eligible for permanent residence by investment.
Permanent residents gain most of the same rights as Lithuanian citizens except the right to vote. After 5-10 years of permanent residence, you can also qualify for naturalization and a Lithuanian passport.
Lithuania offers an attractive visa and work permit program to recruit qualified professionals from abroad. While the application process involves considerable paperwork, it is more streamlined than many other European countries.
In 2024, tech and engineering specialists continue to be in high demand, along with healthcare practitioners, tradespeople, hospitality staff, and more. Lithuanian employers are increasingly offering competitive pay and relocation/visa support to fill shortages in these key industries. With some persistence and attention to detail applications, non-EU nationals can obtain temporary residence rights and rewarding career opportunities in Lithuania. Permanent settlement is also possible after meeting minimum residency requirements.CLICK TO APPLY